KHS reminds pet owners to keep animals out of hot cars

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Pets like two-year-old Walter, pictured (and waiting for adoption), should never be left alone in a car. Photo via Kingston Humane Society.
The Kingston Humane Society (KHS) is urging the community to keep their pets safe and protected during the expected heat wave this week.
Due to climate change, these extreme weather events are more and more prevalent, and it’s important to remember that temperatures inside a vehicle can soar rapidly even if windows are left slightly open, KHS said in a media release dated Monday, Jun. 17, 2024.
Pets left for any amount of time in a hot car can be at serious risk of illness and possibly death due to heat exposure, KHS expressed. If your pets cannot exit the car with you, leave them at home where they will be safe, cool, and comfortable, the animal welfare organization suggested.
“Honestly, I just tell people, don’t take your animal with you for errands, shopping or appointments,” said Humane Society Executive Director, Gord Hunter. “Why would you put your animal’s life at risk for a trip to the grocery store?”
Hunter also reminds the public that, if you do see an animal left in a car and in distress, the first call should be to local emergency services.
“We encourage people to call 911 if they see an animal left in a car and they’re concerned that the animal’s life is in danger,” said Hunter. “Do not shatter a car window or take it upon yourself to break into the car. That could result in further injury to the animal and issues of personal legal liability.”
KHS also noted that at an outside temperature of 30 Celsius, within the first 10 minutes after you leave a vehicle, the temperatures inside a car quickly reach 40ºC and exceed 50ºC within half an hour. Unlike humans, pets have a reduced ability to deal with the heat; leading to an increased likelihood of heat stroke. Indicators of heat stroke include excessive panting, weakness, increased drooling, vomiting and muscle twitching.
According to the release, the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act gives police and provincial animal welfare inspectors full authority to enter motor vehicles and assist pets in distress. That same act has the strongest penalties in Canada for people who disregard animal welfare laws. This includes causing distress to an animal.

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